PNG Police Arrest Elections Candidate, Seize Illegal Arms Cache

admin's picture

Weapons, ammunition confiscated by security forces

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, June 13, 2012) – In Papua New Guinea, election security forces in the Highlands raided the home of a former chief executive officer of a public company and candidate for the 2012 election and confiscated a cache of illegal weapons on Monday.

Members of the PNG Defence force, a police unit from McGregor Barracks in Port Moresby and local police criminal investigators raided the candidate’s home, located several kilometers from Mount Hagen city in an early morning raid and confiscated the weapons

The illegal arms included a self-loading rifle (SLR), an automatic Sig pistol with 29 rounds of ammunition, a box containing 25 buckshot cartridges and a telescope.

This is the combined security force’s first major operation in the Highlands since Government Chief Secretary Manasupe Zurenuoc launched the 2012 Election Security operation in Mount Hagen on Friday in the presence of Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga and commander of PNGDF Brig Gen Francis Agwi.

The candidate voluntarily surrendered himself to the police, he was questioned and released. However, police later arrested and locked him up at the Mount Hagen police cells. He was refused bail and is yet to be charged.

"I directed that the candidate be picked up and brought back (to the police station) to be arrested and charged. Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga’s instruction is very clear. Being in possession of illegal firearms is a serious crime and any candidate arrested will not be granted bail," Highlands divisional commander Teddy Tei told the Post Courier.

The successful raid took place only hours after Commissioner Kulunga declared the Highlands region as a "high risk area" during the election.

He said some 4 000 men and women have been deployed for the election operation and they will especially target anyone suspected of being involved in buying, selling and possession of illegal fire arms.

This is the second case involving illegal firearms in the Highlands. Recently, Chimbu police confiscated an AR15 rifle from a car which was bringing in the weapon to be sold to a candidate in the province. Three men were arrested in connection with the firearm.

Meanwhile, a senior policeman in Enga province told the Post Courier that illegal firearms are a major concern and could be the biggest threat to the election.

He warned anyone in possession of illegal firearms that the police and election security forces will be targeting them to ensure a peaceful election. "We know who has the guns and where the guns are. We will move in and pick them up," the senior police officer said.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment